Alex Peck Antique Medical Instruments, Etc. 

Medical Antiques for Sale Catalogue

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Below is a listing of a few medical and scientific antiques that are currently for sale.  Please feel free to send an e-mail for additional details and to place an order.

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  9.  A c. 1815 antique chiropody instrument set made by the famous coutelier Pierre-François Grangeret, Paris, for the Emperor Alexander I of Russia (1777-1825).   The two scissors are interesting: one is marked A DROITE [right] and the other A GAUCHE [left]; while the inside of the blades show the name GRANGERET and the Grangeret hallmark H surmounted by a crown.  Grangeret is France's finest surgical instrument maker of the early 19th century.  The lid of the shagreen-covered case is set with a solid gold plaque upon which is artfully engraved Tsar Alexander I's cipher monogram of a uniquely styled letter A topped by the Great Imperial Crown of Russia.  Surviving Grangeret records and trade labels catalogue sales to Napoleon I, Louis XVIII, Charles X, and Tsar Alexander I.  Several medical instruments of  Peter the Great exist but no other tsar's instruments are noted.  $6,500

 

chiropody_Russian_Tsar_Alexander_I_set_by_surgical_instrument_maker_coutilier_Pierre-Francois_Grangeret_Paris_c.1810.jpg (23225 bytes)

 

 

  10.  A fine c. 1860 antique monaural stethoscope with rubber percussor ring set into the rim of the earplate.  This is known as a Stokes monuaral stethoscope.  $650

 

 

  11.  A ca. 1850 antique anaesthetic apparatus known as  Murphy's chloroform inhaler.  The Victorian inhaler on offer is made of japanned-tin and retains the original raised velvet edge to the mouth funnel and chloroform sponge in the box.  A simple gum rubber flap check valve within the lid opens when the patient inhales, while an exposed flap check valve at the front of the box opens during exhalation.  The prototype of this antique anesthesiology instrument was, in Murphy's own words, contrived (p. 14) ca. 1847 by the surgical instrument maker Stevens & Pratt, Gower Street North, London, and documented as employed by him in December 1847.   The valve system of this inhaler is not clear and no external exhale flap check valve behind the mouthpiece is present in the drawing.  Dr. Murphy does write (op. cit.) that atmospheric air passes through a port in the lid beneath which a small piece of cloth was placed.  The cloth is probably a flap valve.  The degree to which Murphy had a hand in the initial design and subsequent improvements is not recorded; he is known to have promoted the Stevens & Pratt inhaler and, in time, he became the eponym for an updated model. 

The exact antique anesthesia inhaler presented is subsequently illustrated with the check valve system in Murphy's 1855 publication on chloroform inhalation, p. 30.  Murphy gives no maker or specific name to this revised inhaler.  (The venture Stevens & Pratt appears to have been dissolved by the early 1850s.)  Note also the addition of a padded edge to the mouthpiece in the drawing, another feature not seen in the 1847 inhaler.  Furthermore, the upgraded inhaler is illustrated in the Weiss catalogue of 1863, now identified as Murphy's Inhaler.  See Weiss, 1863, pl. XLI, fig. 4.  The Murphy's inhaler underwent many modifications over the next 50 years.  First generation chloroform inhalers, such as this example which is thought to be the earliest recorded surviving example of a Murphy's inhaler, are exceedingly scarce instruments from the history of anesthesiology.
 

The Gower Street area is a fecund neighborhood for the beginnings of anesthesia.  Besides the home of Stevens & Pratt, surgical instrument maker, and the University College Hospital where John Liston performed the first surgery in Europe under anesthesia, residents included Francis Boott, John Robinson, John Snow, and, to expand the field a bit, Charles Darwin.

The illustrations correlate to the order of the citations.

This Murphy's inhaler is the oldest example known to this dealer covering over 40 years experience with selling medical antiques.  $17,500







  12.   An exquisite and scarce George III sterling silver antique ear trumpet made by Phipps and Robinson, London.  The antique hearing aid is fully hallmarked and dates to 1805.  The antique hearing horn bears the crest of a right hand holding a dagger.  $9,500

 

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ear trumpet, Phipps & Robinson, London, 1805. crest.jpg (26489 bytes)

 

  

13.  An antique microscope signed Powell & Lealand, 170 Euston Road, London, and dated 1876.  The original case and some accessories are present.  This Victorian brass microscope appears in the Powell & Lealand catalogue of 1871 as  No. 2--Large Compound Microscope, on an improved construction...  A major difference between this Powell & Lealand No. 2 stand and its predecessors is the enlarging and strengthening of the coarse focus rackwork.  At one time this Powell & Lealand microscope belonged to Frederic J.W. Plaskitt (1868-1926), who was elected a Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society in 1905.  Ref: L'E Turner, The Great Age of the Microscope: The Collection of the Royal Microscopical Society, no. 124 (dated 1873); The Arthur Frank Collection of Scientific Instruments Sotheby's London sale of 25 March 1986, no. 303 (dated 1879).  This is an exemplary Powell and Lealand microscope from the Victorian age of brass and glass scientific instruments.  $6,500

 

microscope, Powell & Lealand, No 2, 1876.jpg (69533 bytes)

microscope, Powell & Lealand, No 2, 1876, right substage.jpg (117802 bytes)

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microscope, Powell & Lealand, No 2, 1876, date detail.jpg (101021 bytes)

 

14.   An oil on canvas portrait of John Collins Warren, M.D. (1778-1856), the famed American surgeon and pioneer in the use of anesthesia.  Dr. Warren was a founder of the New England Journal of Medicine and Massachusetts General Hospital; the first dean of the Harvard Medical School; the first surgeon to use anesthetic ether in a public demonstration; and a president of the American Medical Association.  The Ether Dome of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, is a shrine to Dr. Warren.  The painting is a copy of an unrecorded c. 1830 portrait by Francis Alexander (1800-1880), a well-known American portraitist who was active in Boston.  A study survives in the National Portrait Gallery.  Offered here is an accomplished copy of the Alexander portrait that was painted in 1878 by Augusta Dudley, a Parisian trained New York artist.  The portrait probably was commissioned in commemoration of the 100 year anniversary of Dr. Warren's birth.  Other than the cherubic portrait painted by Gilbert Stuart in 1812 and owned by the Warren family (a copy of the Stuart was made for the family in the 1840s), the Alexander painting is thought to be the only other known oil portrait of Dr. John Collins Warren for which he actually posed.  The full aspect of the Alexander portrait of Dr. Warren is now recovered with the discovery and research of this important painting.  Ex New York Academy of Medicine.  SOLD

 

 

painting, John Collins Warren, Francis Alexander, c. 1830, copy by Augusta Dudley, 1878, FL.jpg (488197 bytes)


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